FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (NEWS RELEASE) – The University of Arkansas answered the call when the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences ran low on personal protective equipment and other necessary supplies due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Colleges across campus donated items including hand sanitizer, gloves and masks to aid healthcare workers at the medical school’s hospitals as they serve an influx of patients, in addition to donating vials and items to assist with COVID-19 testing. Supplies were donated to both the UAMS location in Little Rock and the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus in Fayetteville.
Personal protective equipment is crucial in protecting healthcare workers and their patients from infection. The COVID-19 outbreak, which led to an increased demand for such equipment, has led to a worldwide shortage that puts healthcare workers at increased risk during the pandemic.
“I am inspired by our faculty and staff’s selflessness and willingness to help our community and state during this challenging time,” said Jim Coleman, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “As the land-grant university for Arkansas, we recognize the need to come together and leverage the university’s resources to help our state respond to this pandemic. We look forward to continuing to identify proactive ways we can help during this trying time.”
In the College of Engineering, lab equipment such as gloves and masks – normally used for the college’s research and teaching endeavors – found new purpose to help front-line medical workers.
“During this time of crisis, it is important to channel all our resources to meet the immediate needs of the community,” said Raj Rao, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “By helping a member of our community in need, each one of us in our own small way will make a difference.”
The College of Education and Health Professions also donated hundreds of gloves, masks and other materials from the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing.
“I am proud the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing was in a position to help during this time of need,” said Tabatha Teal, simulation director in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing. “Our clinical partners are on the front lines of this pandemic. Not only are these supplies much-needed, they could be life-saving for both our region’s patients and healthcare workers at UAMS.”
Testing materials such as vials and reagents are also desperately needed at UAMS to help fill the need for COVID-19 testing. In addition to donations of gloves and other medical supplies, the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and faculty in the Cell and Molecular Biology program gave a majority of the 12,000 test tubes donated on behalf of the university.
“The faculty were enthusiastically responsive to the request for supplies that were urgently needed,” said David McNabb, chair of the college’s Department of Biological Sciences. “Our faculty want to support our healthcare providers and give any assistance we can to facilitate testing and to protect the health of those working on the front lines to serve our community.”
“The call went out to the CEMB faculty, representing 120 faculty in 16 departments in four colleges, since many of those faculty routinely use the reagents and supplies that were limiting,” said Douglas Rhoads, director of the Cell and Molecular Biology program. “The CEMB faculty responded with donations to support the cause.”
As UAMS continues to fight the pandemic, they expressed gratitude for not only the supplies but also the research expertise lent by U of A faculty.
“Where do our educators and investigators find meaning and purpose during this time of fear, anxiety and crisis? I have at least one potential answer: they donate,” said Jennifer Hunt, chair of the Department of Pathology at UAMS. “Our UAMS and UA system investigators are digging deep to find things we need every single day, some of which would stop us in our tracks if we didn’t have. And, our research community is also donating intellect, brain power, innovation, and ideas—even if we don’t have time to think about them today.”
Find out more about how the University of Arkansas is Determined to Help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.